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W H Smith

W H Smith (formerly known as W H Smith and Son) is a high street chain of bookshops in the United Kingdom, founded in the 18th century by William Henry Smith.

For many years their policy of not stocking the satirical magazine Private Eye, because of their fear of being held responsible for any libels it might contain, led to the magazine stigmatising them as "The World's Worst Booksellers", a misappropriation of one of W H Smith's advertising logos, "The World's Best Booksellers", and also as "W H Smug".

Today the firm has 30,747 employees and sales of 2.9billion. On the retail side it hs 25,236 employees and 1,464 stores. News distribution accounts for 4,525 staff and 54 distribution centres. Rather different from 1812.

In that year the business was valued at 1,280, when William Henry aged 20, joined the firm his parents had established.

The W H Smith staff journal, Newsbasket, was published between 1908 and 1978, and provides an interesting business and social history of the firm at that time.

A W H Smith newsletter for the third age, Primetime was published from January 1995 to April 1996 and was edited by David Alston.